Humboldt Broncos in transition to rebuild, team VP tells Humber News
Still reeling from a devastating bus crash last month, the Humboldt Broncos have started the difficult search for a new head coach and general manager, Randy MacLean, the team’s vice president, told Humber News on Wednesday.
The Broncos are going to start their rebuild with no returning players and without many of the staff returning.
“Once we went through the process of working with the families (of everyone affected by the tragedy) we lost 16, coaches, staff, radio announcer, trainer, and players. We went through that process with all the funerals and making sure we are supporting families and parents. Now we are in the move of our rebuild,” MacLean said in an interview.
“Right now we have zero players returning or medically cleared to return. We have several players interested in returning, but as of right now they are not medically cleared to play,” he said.
“We don’t have a general manager or coach, so we are in the midst of a rebuild and the first step in the corner stone here is to find that general manager and coach.”
Darcy Haugan, the coach and general manager for Humboldt who died in the the crash, put a great product on the ice each season, MacLean said.
While the team can’t replace a guy like Haugan, they are looking for coaches with some of the same qualities.
“We are looking for someone who is going to continue the progress we made with Darcy’s (former coach) leadership from the time Darcy took over,” said MacLean.
“From two years ago our team has consistently improved, not only in the wins and losses column but also in terms of how our players conducts themselves within the community and become ambassadors for our team, organization and community,” he said.
“We are not looking for someone to fill Darcy’s shoes, because those would be hard shoes to fill. We are looking for someone who will come in and have their own style and their own ideas but at the same time mesh with the values that we have created over the last several years,” he said.
“The character is equally as important as the skill.”
The search for the coach and general manager won’t just include candidates from Saskatchewan but Humboldt as looking at all options for the position.
“This is an international search, we have no pre conceived notions, we have no pre conceived ideas. We are looking at someone who has the qualities, the attributes, the character and the ability to come in to make the Humboldt Broncos great, continue to support players as not only players but as individuals as people,” MacLean said.
“Continue to represent our organization as a world class organization and work with our local community, sponsors, billets, schools and represent the Humboldt Broncos organization in a positive way.”
For coaches and players who want to be a part of the Humboldt family, MacLean said that the town is a great place to live and raise a family.
“Since the tragedy happened on April 6, the community of Humboldt has been amazing. A community of 6,500 to 7,000 people and it’s an amazing, amazing place, to raise a family,” said MacLean. “I have children in school here and raised a family, also to be a hockey player. It’s a very unique place to be a hockey player, it’s also a unique place to live.”
When the team steps out on the ice for their next season, MacLean said he expects the same reception from Humboldt as they have every other season.
“We expect the same reception that we have always received which is an amazing reception and support from our local community,” said MacLean.
“This year will be a little bit different, it won’t be a little it will be a lot different but at the same time are very optimistic, we are going to recognize and celebrate the players, staff and volunteers which we lost on April 6, but we aren’t going to live in that space still. We are going to continue to move forward and grow, expand and improve,” he said.
“The Home opener is going to be amazing, there won’t be a dry eye in the place. I expect there will be a sellout well at the same time we create the same support for the team on the ice and continue that for the season,” he said. “It will be a lot different, but we are optimistic and we are excited.”
MacLean’s message to fans and the city of Humboldt to come out and support the team as they always have. A great product will be on the ice and Humboldt is going to build the best team they can.
“Our message is to continue to have high expectations, we expect whether it was last season when training camp opened to this season, when training camp this year does open to compete, in the Royal Bank Cup and National Championship, that’s our expectation. We want our community, sponsors and our fans to have the same expectations of us,” said MacLean.
“We want them to come in and cheer with the same passion. We want them to continue to support us but still have high expectations for us as they always do and continue to come out every night so that way we have a great product on the ice and on the bench,” he said.
“We want a great product not only on the name on the back of the jersey but the name on the front of the jersey and represent our community in a great way and positive way and continue to support Humboldt and the province of Saskatchewan in hockey. “